The second stage of labour begins when your cervix is fully dilated. At this time you’ll usually get a strong urge to push. This is due to the pressure your baby is placing on your pelvic area.

As your baby’s head descends, your perineum, the area between your vagina and anus, begins to stretch and you often feel a burning sensation. This happens when your baby’s head is crowning (the stage of childbirth when the top of the baby’s head is visible at the vaginal opening).

In some cases, the perineum will tear as the baby is being born so your doctor may discuss with you the option of having an episiotomy. An episiotomy is a surgical cut of the muscular area between the vagina and anus to enlarge the vaginal opening.

Once you’ve given birth, your doctor or midwife may place your baby on your chest so you can enjoy your first cuddle. At this time, your baby’s umbilical cord will need to be cut.

The third stage of labour, the separation of the placenta (afterbirth), begins after the birth of your baby. At this time, you may be given an injection to help your placenta separate from your uterus and control any bleeding.


After the birth, your baby will be examined, weighed and bathed. If you and your baby are warm and well, you’ll both be transferred to the postnatal ward.

Whether you’re having a vaginal delivery or caesarean section, it’s usual for your baby to stay with you in your room at all times.

During your stay, hospital staff and midwives will provide you with information and support in caring for your baby. This will include showing you how to breast or bottle feed, bath, change, burp and settle your baby.

The length of your hospital stay will vary, but on average will be between 2-5 days.

Caesarean delivery

The birth of your baby and your hospital stay.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.